Articles Posted in Employment Law

In San Antonio and greater Texas, many workers earn a hourly wage plus commission. There are lingering questions about the payment of such commissions, and such wage and hour issues can be the object of legal action through a Texas employment attorney . For example, in the case of a tax-preparation company, an employee discovered that the business paid commissions only at the end of the tax season. She thought the commissions would be paid in conjunction with the payment of her hourly wages. The question then becomes: Can the employer make the employee with this long to receive commissions ?

Under Texas state labor laws and payday requirements , commissions should be paid no later than the end of the month following the month in which they were earned. So for example, a commission earned in January must be paid by the end of February.

However, exceptions to the commission policy exist where there is a written agreement according to the Texas Workforce Commission. If the written agreement was signed by the employee and the employer prior to the start of employment, the terms of the written agreement would dictate payment terms.

With the advent of allergy season and the growing awareness of disability accommodation, Texas employment lawyers are facing unique challenges each day. Consider the case of the woman who exhibits all the symptoms of a severe allergic reaction including heavy coughing and watery eyes. It turns out the allergic reaction is being triggered by a nearby co-worker’s perfume. The woman has requested that her co-worker stop wearing the perfume, to which the co-worker has replied , “Sorry, but it’s a wonderful fragrance”. The woman has requested to be moved several seats away, but the boss has been reluctant to become involved.


What are the woman’s rights in this situation ? Can the employer order the co-worker not to wear the offending fragrance ?

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) , which regulates the Americans With Disabilities Act, a person is disabled if they possess a physical or mental impairment that inhibits a major life activity.

A growing number of employment claims are being filed by employees alleging hostile work environments. Workers who feel threatened or offended can file these claims with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or through the Texas Division of Civil Rights.

It is important to note that mere offensive remarks are not enough to establish a hostile environment. Texas courts have stated that a hostile work environment cannot be established by comments which are merely offensive. No one is entitled to a perfect workplace free of annoyances. Texas employment discrimination law is not intended to be a general civility code in the workplace.

There have been rare and extreme cases under the employment cases in which a single incident will be so severe that from the perspective of a reasonable person, the environment became hostile. However, most of the time, repeated “racial slurs” in the example of race discrimination, is necessary to establish a racial harassment claim.

Recently ABC News reached an agreement with its writers not to compensate them for using their employer-issued Blackberrys and PDAs to check their e-mails after office hours. The decision posts an interesting question for Texas employment law : Does the routine check of e-mail after hours require overtime pay?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Department of Labor (DOL) provide certain rules for dealing with off-duty, non-exempt hourly employees who must be on call or carry pagers or beepers while off-duty.

If an employer is going to require frequent, although short in duration, daily episodes of business activity, such as requiring an employee to regularly check more than one or two e-mails outside work hours, then an argument can be made that this is overtime work under Texas employment laws.

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